Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods presents the 35th Annual


FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2018

Honoring the environmental leadership of

Robert Redford and Sibylle Szaggars Redford

with Bill Kurtis and Donna La Pietra as Masters of Ceremonies


Join us for this unforgettable evening celebrating nature and the arts as we honor Robert Redford and Sibylle Szaggars Redford.

Thanks to the underwriting support of Nancy Hughes, Brushwood Center will present the Chicago-area premiere performance of The Way of the Rain - Voices of Hope, created by Mrs. Redford, immediately prior to the Smith Nature Symposium & Benefit.

Ticket sales for the The Way of the Rain will open on April 23rd. In the meantime, purchase your Smith Nature Symposium & Benefit tickets below.

Purchase 10 tickets to the Symposium & Benefit if you would like to fill a table. See below for additional sponsorship information.


In addition to his work as an actor, director and producer, Robert Redford has been an environmental activist since the early 1970’s. He has been an advocate for climate change awareness and clean energy for over 40 years. In 2016 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. He has served as trustee for the Natural Resources Defense Council and is the co-founder of The Redford Center with his son Jamie.

Sibylle Szaggars Redford has worked as a multimedia environmental artist for more than three decades raising awareness through her art of our environmental unsound practices. Since 2012 Szaggars Redford has created art performances as an homage to planet Earth and in 2015 founded The Way of the Rain Non Profit, to promote public awareness around the issue of climate change.

“The role of the artist is to feed and nurture the soul of society, provoke thought and inspire critical thinking. And during times like these, during this very hour, art can foster a deeper understanding and connection to the earth.”   – Robert Redford

4:00 PM / The Way Of The Rain - Voices of Hope, The Gorton Center


5:30 PM / Cocktail Reception and Exhibition Opening of Rain Paintings by Sibylle Szaggars Redford at Brushwood Center

7:00 PM / Conversation and Dinner featuring honored guests

Robert Redford and Sibylle Szaggars Redford

Moderated by Bill Kurtis and Donna La Pietra

We Gratefully Acknowledge our Sponsors

For 35 years, the symposium has been an occasion to celebrate nature and spend the evening with luminaries who have made a meaningful contribution to the science of conservation and deepened our understanding of the natural world.

Sponsorships available. Click here for more information.

Celebrating 30 years of sponsoring the Smith Nature Symposium:

Gold Sponsor:

Butler Family Foundation · Adele and John Simmons

Silver Sponsors:

Koya Leadership Partners · Camille and Ross Prindle · Angelica and William Sturm · Village of Riverwoods

Media Sponsors:

Presented in partnership with the Lake County Forest Preserves.

Brushwood Center's programs are made possible thanks to the generosity of The Chicago Community Trust, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Hunter Family Foundation, Northshore Gas, and community supporters like you.

Host Committee:

Bobbie Brown and Nick Bothfeld · Barbi and Tom Donnelley · Linda and Lydon Neumann · Camille and Ross Prindle
Alison P. Ranney and Erik G. Birkerts · Anne Grall Reichel and Jack Reichel
Adele and John Simmons · Ginevra Stirling and George Benjamin Ranney · Judith Stockdale and Jonathan Boyer
Angelica and William Sturm · Sophie and Jon Twichell · Sandi and David Whitmore

Special thanks to the 2018 Smith Nature Symposium Planning Committee:

Angelica Sturm, Chair · Lele Barkhausen · Lynn Bruch · Judy Iacuzzi · Diane Karzas · Lynne Kennedy
Susan Krakora · Valerie Lewis · Linda Neumann · Camille Prindle · Judith Stockdale · Martha Twaddle · Sandi Whitmore